"Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow. " - Helen Keller
A lot has happened this season. With so many contests at the beginning of the season, trying to qualify for the Olympics and stay healthy, this season took me on a different path than I had anticipated. The first few contests went pretty well, Dew Tour and the Grand Prixs in Colorado put me into a position where I really needed to excel at the last two qualifying events to land myself a spot on the US snowboard team to qualify for the Olympics. After a pretty decent showing at the Copper Grand Prix considering we all battled some pretty serious weather in qualifiers I was very focused to do well at the Northstar Grand Prix. Unfortunately, California has had an unusually bad snow year and they had to move the contest back to Breckenridge, which was great news since thats where I now call home.
The course was all time, Breckenridge did an outstanding job at creating and maintaining a great course for us to have the contest on. The jumps were perfect, the rails creative and fun, and I had a wonderful day of practice the day before qualifiers. The following morning was perfect. My warmup went well, and I felt very ready for the contest. For some reason, before taking my first run I decided to try a more difficult run first instead of putting one run down for safety. The wind had picked up slightly, but it still looked great from up top, and I wasn't worried about speed at all. The top section went smooth and I setup for a switch trick on the first jump. I lost a bit of speed on the landing but still thought I could make the second jump if I just did a straight air and popped really hard. Wrong.
I came up about a full board length short on the jump and landed hard with my weight back over my back leg. My knee caved in, I felt a pop, and then found myself writhing in pain at the bottom of the landing of the jump. I knew deep down in my gut that I had probably just torn my ACL, but still tried to stand up to walk off the course. At that point my knee completely gave out and I hit the ground, hard. The Breckenridge Ski Patrol was extremely helpful and quick on the scene and they got me down to the bottom to have my knee looked at immediately after checking for head and neck injuries.
I was happy to have my boyfriend there with me, who was on the side of the course taking photos and saw the whole thing. We ended up spending the rest of our day at the hospital getting X-rays and trying to determine whether or not I had a tibial plateau fracture. Fortunately, I didn't and when Dr. Joseph at Vail Summit Orthopedics looked at my knee and the MRI we determined that I had in fact completely torn my ACL and Lateral meniscus as well as a partial tear in my medial meniscus and I would need knee surgery.
On January 17th I had ACL surgery, I am very fortunate that it was only my knee and that I live in a place where some of the best knee surgeons in the country also reside and practice. The surgery went smoothly, although, the first week of laying in bed after surgery was the most pain i've ever endured.
Physical therapy and rehabilitation of the knee after a surgery like this is crucial. I never even knew how crucial until I have had to put in the hours of work at the gym and home to get my knee back to where I want it to be. The physical portion of this is incredibly hard, but what's harder than that is keeping your mind in a positive state when you are so limited in activity. It's easy to get down when you can't do what you love to do and are passionate about, however, in the grand scheme of life this is such short period of time and there are so many lessons to be learned.
The thing i'm constantly reminded of is not to take things for granted. Mostly in the sense of being able to walk normally, bend or straighten my knee without pain, and do my daily activities that I have done for so many years without even the notion of it ever being taken away, even if only for a few months. I am almost 3 months out of surgery now and feeling better and better each day. Rebuilding a knee is a weird concept, when you think it took me 23 years to develop my leg to the athletic point it was at and to watch it deteriorate and atrophy in just a couple weeks. It's unbelievable what the body is capable of and to see it really kick into gear and repair itself is truly amazing. I am hoping to go snowboarding again in July when I am at my 6 month mark, and will be back with a vengeance this coming season!
I have been so grateful to have so many people in my life that have made this process so much easier for me including my family, friends, my wonderful sponsors who have stood by me and my boyfriend who has been there every step of the way. A big thanks once again to my contributors towards my Sochi goal, and get ready for some extra fuel in the tank for the Road to South Korea and the rest of my snowboard career!
Gatorade, Burton, Smith Optics, Phunkshun Wear, Discrete Headwear, Epic Pro Team, Saga Outerwear, Lyke Watches, Fydelity Stereobags, Shred Betties, Snogression, Hit Play Yoga, La Isla Brand.
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